This easy to follow and lightly spiced Embossed Cookie recipe produces a dough which holds the pattern of an embossed rolling pin whilst tasting great! I’ve got all the tips and tricks you’ll need to make perfect rolling pin cookies plus a troubleshooting guide so you’ll be able to make the most out of your patterned rolling pin. These spiced sugar cookies are simply perfect and you can use the same recipe to make simple cookie cutter biscuits too.
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I love my embossed rolling pin! The pattern is so super cute and being that it is festive patterned, I like to make the most of it during the holidays. Not all cookie recipes work well with the rolling pin. Many of them shrink, spread or simple lose the embossed pattern when baked.
So I’ve experimented and come up with the perfect recipe. It was no hardship eating the “fails” I can assure you! As a result I’ve got a bunch of top tips to help you make sure that it works for you perfectly every single time. Just keep reading, this is not the time to skip straight to the recipe unless you’re a confident baker.
This recipe is vanilla flavoured with a light hint of spice. It makes the recipe absolutely perfect for Christmas and any other event over the festive season. But it is also easily adaptable.
There are many embossed rolling pins available that don’t have festive patterns. So If you’re looking for a cookie recipe to use at another time of the year, this one still works! You can either stick with the spiced recipe, stick with simple vanilla or just use one spice like ginger or cinnamon.
I love how these biscuits came out. The embossed rolling pin really left a beautiful pattern which cooked without distorting it. They also taste incredible. The smell of the Christmas spices really fills the kitchen which makes them a pleasure to make as well as eat.
What is an embossed rolling pin?
An embossed rolling pin has a pattern carved into it which can be transferred onto dough by rolling over it whilst gently pressing down on the rolling pin. The dough can then be baked and if you are using the right dough recipe and keeping it will chilled, the pattern will be seen on the finished baked good.
Unless they’re designed for a particular purpose, patterned rolling pins have a pattern that keep repeating seamlessly. Some have simple pretty or geometric patterns and others like the Christmas rolling pin that I’ve used are themed for special occasions.
In theory that dough can be bread dough, pastry or pie crust or cookie dough. It is much easier to make embossed cookies than bread or pastry and so they are the most common. You do need to use a recipe that is designed to hold pattern when being baked – like this one!
How do you use an embossed rolling pin?
Embossed rolling pins can be a fiddly but taking it gently and using a good cold dough will give you the best results. As will chilling the cookie dough again before popping them in the oven. Keeping the dough cool/cold the when rolling and baking will keep the pattern from spreading.
Once the cookie dough has been properly chilled, it needs to be rolled out the right thickness with regular rolling pin. You can’t use an embossed pin for the mechanics of making the cookies. It is only for creating the decorative pattern afterwards.
To ensure the dough doesn’t stick to either of the rolling pins or counter, make sure to dust everything with a light coating of flour. Try not to be too generous or you will change the texture of the dough.
The dough needs to be rolled to an even thickness – around 1/2 inch thick. It is best to try and roll it to a rectangle shape just wider than the width of your embossed rolling pin.
Unlike with a normal rolling pin, you only roll once with the embossed rolling pin. Place the rolling pin at one of the dough rectangle and gently roll it along the whole length of the dough. Try to apply the same level of force through the entire roll and don’t stop/start.
My embossed rolling pin has handles but I find it easier to press on the main rolling pin rather than use the them. Experiment with the amount of pressure and take it slowly.
Once the pattern is transferred, you can cut out cookie shapes using cookie cutters. If you don’t want to cut shapes you can simply use a sharp knife to cut them into squares or bars.
It is worth experimenting with the cookie cutter shapes and sizes to get the best design from your rolling pin pattern. You will see how I centre the reindeer in the middle of my cookies. And I use a mix of shapes which creates a fun variety of finished cookies.
Once the cookies have been carefully moved to a lined baking sheet, they need to be chilled for another 30 minutes before they are baked straight from the fridge.
How do you clean embossed rolling pins?
Cleaning an embossed rolling pin is actually really easy. Hopefully you will have floured the rolling pin before using so you shouldn’t have any actual dough stuck to it. But even if you do, they’re not difficult to clean.
Once you’ve used it, use a pastry brush or soft washing up brush (dry) to wipe away any left over dough and/or flour. Once it’s free of bits, gently scrub it with a soapy brush to remove the grease.
Don’t over scrub and leave the rolling pin to air dry after taking most of the water off with a dish towel. Do not put them in the dishwasher. They are usually made of wood which can split. And plastic ones can actually melt a little and lose their shape.
The Spiced Sugar Cookie Recipe
My embossed cookie recipe is basically a simple sugar cookie recipe with a little added zing. And of course the ratios of ingredients are designed specifically to not spread when baked.
I most often refer to this specific recipe as a “Christmas Spiced Cookie” but really it is a great recipe to use year round. The ginger, cinnamon and vanilla along with mixed spice (more on that in a minute!) are however especially popular through the fall / autumn and across the holiday season.
How to Make a Vanilla Embossed Cookie
If you want to make a more simple cookie, you can just leave the spices out the recipe. Or just use one on its own if you would like an embossed ginger cookie or embossed cinnamon cookie. Whichever option you choose, I would recommend not leaving out the vanilla as it provides a great base for any of the other flavours.
If keeping them plain vanilla, you can add a little extra extract to give them a super vanilla flavour.
Other Flavoured Embossed Cookies
Try replacing the vanilla with one of these flavourings to totally change the flavour without affecting the cookie dough recipe:
- Lemon Extra
- Orange Extract
- Almond Extract
- Peppermint Extract
You will see that all of my suggestions are extracts. Itis possible to flavour the dough by adding say lemon zest but it might interfere with the finished design. The same is true for other additions like chocolate chips.
So What is ‘mixed spice’?!
Mixed spice is basically the British equivalent of pumpkin spice. It is a pre-blended mix of winter spices which does vary a little depending on which one you buy. But mixed spice almost always contains cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ginger and ground cloves.
Don’t confuse mixed spice with allspice. Allspice is a spice in its own right and it quite a different thing.
If you cannot get hold of mixed spice, you can simply use any similar type of spice blend like pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice. Or if you are really struggling, leave it out entirely and simply up the amount of ginger and cinnamon that you use.
More recipes featuring mixed spice
Embossed Cookie Recipe – Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any other questions which I haven’t answered, scroll to the bottom of this page and let me know what you want to know in the comments section.
How Long will These Cookies Keep For?
These cookies will keep for up to 7 days in an airtight container. This makes them ideal for holiday cookie swap or parties as you can make them a few days in advance.
Can I Freeze Embossed Cookies?
I do not recommend freezing the baked cookies. They are rather delicate and could snap easily in the freezer or when defrosting.
You can freeze the sugar cookie dough. Make sure that the dough is fully defrosted but still cold before trying to roll it.
Can I Add Icing to Embossed Rolling Pin Cookies?
You can add more decoration to the cookies once they are cool if you wish.
I would recommend trying to work with the pattern from your rolling pin. So that might involve icing little sections, along certain lines or creating a border. You can also add on extra embellishments like sprinkles or dragées.
This can be a great activity for children, especially as a fun holiday activity.
Why are my embossed cookies a different colour?
The ingredients that you use will affect the finished cookie colour. Because it only goes slightly golden in the oven, the finished cookies are generally the same colour as the dough.
The colour of your butter and egg can make a difference. If you don’t add the spices in the recipe, this could also make them a little more pale than normal.
The cookies will taste great just as they are. If you do want to play with coloured dough, you can add a little food colouring. Please make sure to use a paste or gel as liquid food colour will affect the texture of the dough.
Embossed Cookie Recipe – Top Tips!
The best tip I can give for this recipe is keep the dough cold. If it’s cold the pattern with stay when it’s cooked. When it goes from the cold fridge to the oven it doesn’t get a chance to spread before the outer layers have cooked and hardened.
Also try not to work the dough too much. Once it rolled out the first time, cut out as many biscuits as you can. Stack the remaining offcuts then roll them out again. Put the dough back in the fridge to get it get it cold again if you are going to use the embossed rolling pin a second time.
When you use the rolling pin dust it over with a little flour. If anything gets stuck in the grooves then use a pastry brush or clean paint brush to remove it. Dust every few rolls.
This recipe also works really well for for making cookie cutter biscuits. You don’t even need an embossed rolling pin to make these cookies!
When you cook them make sure you take them out before they go golden brown as they will dry really hard. Unless you dip them in a mug of hot tea like a Brit, they won’t be easy to bite.
Troubleshooting Embossed Rolling Pin Cookies
Because of the nature of it, there are a few things which can go a little wrong with this recipe. But from my experience they can all be fixed.
The Dough Is Too Dry
Sometimes the dough might not come together and stick as a dough. Which will then make it too crumbly to roll out.
If the dough isn’t coming together when you mix it together, add a few drops of water. Don’t add too much a once. You can add a little more but you cannot take it away.
Another reason it might be too crumbly when being rolled out is that the dough has been overworked when you brought the dough together. You can’t turn back the clock so add a little water and keep going.
The dough is cracking at the edges when being rolled
It might be that your dough was too dry for the reasons above.
Or the dough might have been in the fridge too long. Simply give it a moment to warm up a tiny bit, push the cracks back together and keep going.
The pattern doesn’t transfer to the dough
If the pattern isn’t rolling out, your rolling pin might not have a deep enough design or you aren’t pressing hard enough. It takes a bit of practice to work out how to do it.
If you are struggling with the rolling pin, it might be worth practising on something like play-doh first. Just make sure to wash it thoroughly before using on the cookie dough!
The pattern disappears when baked
If everything is going to plan but when you bake this embossed cookie recipe but the design disappears, it could be that your oven is running a bit too hot or they are being placed in a part of the oven which is running hot. (In my oven the top left side runs hotter than the rest so I avoid putting these biscuits near that side)
The biscuits could also have not been chilled for long enough. Make sure your oven is up to temperature before removing them from the fridge and pop them straight in the oven. They don’t need to be bought back to room temperature before being baked.
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Embossed Cookie Recipe – Embossed Rolling Pin Recipe
- Kitchen Scales
- Mixing bowl
- Embossed Rolling Pin
- Regular Rolling Pin
- Cookie cutters
- Wooden spoon
- 200 g (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
- 200 g (⅔+¼ cups) caster sugar / superfine sugar
- 1 (1 ) egg medium
- 1 tsp (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- ½ tsp (½ tsp) ground ginger
- ½ tsp (½ tsp) mixed spice or pumpkin spice
- ½ tsp (½ tsp) ground cinnamon
- 400 g (2½ cups) plain flour / all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
Make The Dough
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Mix in the spices.
- Sieve in the flour and combine into a dough. If it is a bit crumbly to hold, add a few drops of water at a time to help bring it together.
- Once the dough has come together, wrap it in cling film (saran wrap) and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll and Cut the Cookies
- Dust a surface with a little flour. Roll out the dough with a regular rolling pin to just thicker than 1cm – around ½". You will want to use a little flour on the rolling pin too. Try to keep the dough rectangle and no wider than the width of your embossed rolling pin.
- Lightly flour then roll over the dough with the embossed rolling pin with medium pressure. Just enough to create the pattern with sufficient sharpness but not so hard that you press the pattern out of shape.
- Use the cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you want and pop the cookies on a greaseproof paper lined baking tray. Again it is helpful to dip the cutters in a little flour before each cut. You can reroll any scraps and repeat the process until it is all used.
- Put the cut out dough back into the fridge for a further 30 minutes.
Bake the Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan oven/ gas mark 4 or 350ºF around 15 minutes before you intend to start baking.
- Place the cookies in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch and just starting to brown around the edges.You don’t want the cookies to colour more than a little else they will dry too crispy. You can see how pale the finished cookies are above.
- Leave to cool on a rack and once fully cool, store in an airtight container.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
63 thoughts on “Embossed Cookie Recipe – Embossed Rolling Pin Recipe”
That rolling pin is utterly adorable, love how it imprints the dough to make such utterly cute biscuits, and they look delicious too.
Is it really weird that I have a wishlist of different embossed rolling pins…I love the idea of them but I’ve always been worried that the pattern won’t stay when the cookies are baked.
Yours look amazing! I know what I’m treating myself to this festive season…
Seems like I can’t escape Christmas recipes – I’ve even done one myself! Love the definition on your biscuits. I have a rolling pin for similar, but I’ve never managed to get anything as good as these.
It took some working out to get it crisp but it definitely works now. I can’t wait to make more! Merry Christmas.
These would be so wonderful at a cookie/biscuit swap or to package up as gifts, or even to send in a package (they’d travel well)! Thanks for the lovely recipe; my mother has an embossed rolling pin and they are so much fun!
Oh I must do that for Christmas presents. What a fantastic idea. They would definitely post well I think.
What stunning and beautiful biscuits! I’d love to try one.
I will make sure I get you a few biscuits before Christmas.
I’ve looked at these embossed rolling pins and wondered how well they would work. Your cookies are delightful and I’m off to look at the rolling pins to see which one I would like.
Is the temp really 180degrees?
Yes 180 degrees Celsius.
What if you don’t have a convection oven?
Hi Coral, if you don’t have a convection oven you can also cook them at gas mark 4 or 350ºF.I hope that helps.
I’m definitely going to try these as I’m making lots of homemade Xmas presents this year. I just wondered how long they will keep for as I dont want to spend all Xmas eve baking.
Hi Julie, these biscuits will last a few days if kept in an airtight box or bag. Last year I made them on the 22nd of December and they were still perfect to eat on Christmas day!
I tried the biscuit, really really delicious, easy to work with the dough.May I ask what type of flour do u use as my biscuits r not yellow at all like urs,more like dusty white colour.If I live it longer in the oven will be brown not yellow.
Hi Gabi, thank you for your comment. I used basic supermarket white plain flour. It could have been the butter which changed the colour. Or the amount of spice I used. I would say the easiest way to change the colour would be the spices as that won’t interfere with the texture.
I’m excited to make these! I was gifted an embossed rolling pin last Christmas and haven’t used it yet! Do these freeze well??
I haven’t tried freezing them but I would worry as they are delicate they might not survive it. You can keep the dough in the fridge for a day or two if you want to make it ahead of time. I really hope you enjoy using your new rolling pin!
These cookies are absolutely delicious! I was planning on glazing them, but the flavor was divine just as they are. I will definitely make these again. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much Cheryl for taking the time to leave a comment, I really appreciate it. I’m so glad they were enjoyed.
Over 3 weeks I made 160 doz cookies, embossed with a sunflower.
I raised a lot of money to assist Ukrainian refugees on Vancouver Island.
I mixed large batches of dough and held them in the frig, tightly covered, for up to a week. Rolled and prepared the cookies and froze them. Baked frozen. And then froze the cookies. Perfect!
That is so beautiful to hear. Congratulations on your work and fundraising.
I’ll try this week!!
thanks for sharing the recipe.
kisses from Brazil.
It’s so exciting to hear you found my blog all the way from Brazil! Merry Christmas x
I just tried the biscuit. Delicious!.
The first batch was a little thick. The others were successful.
Here, I used the oven 200 degrees Celcius.
Putting the dough in the fridge helps a lot.
Thank you! We loved it!
I tried the biscuit today, delicious!
The first batch was a little thick, the others were successful.
Putting it in the fridge helps a lot.
Thanks! Merry Christmas!
Wondering if these cookies freeze well? Have you tried to freeze them by any chance? Recipe looks delicious!
Hi Lesley, I would recommend making them fresh as they are delicate I would be worried about them bending or warping as they defrosted.
I followed this recipe to the t. My cookies had great embossing before cooking. I has the dough in the fridge for 3 hours, then cooled and cut them out. Back into the fridge for 30 minutes then baked. Disappointed the embossing was only about 50% there when cooked. Not sure what went wrong. Back to the old recipe I have.
Hi Shirley, I’m sorry the recipe didn’t work completely. It sounds like it could either by the embossed rolling pin isn’t deep enough to get a sharp design. Or the oven was too hot. If it’s too hot the butter will melt before it cooks and disrupts the design. It could be that a part of the oven is hotter than the rest if some worked and some didn’t. You could try adding an empty baking tray to the top of the oven to push the heat down.
I followed this recipe to the t. My cookies had great embossing before cooking. I put the dough in the fridge for 3 hours, when cooled and cut them out. Back into the fridge for 30 minutes then baked. Disappointed the embossing was only about 50% there when cooked. Not sure what went wrong. Back to the old recipe I have. taste very good.
There are so many things that could have impacted the final embossed design. It could be that the rolling pin design wasn’t deep enough into the wood. As some of them did keep their pattern I would think it was the oven being too hot. I’m glad you enjoyed the taste.
Hello you biscuits looks so beautiful! I have used the same recipe but i can’t get the any print of my biscuits. I don’t know what I am doing wrong? Can you help please?
Hi Marie, what seems to be the problem? Is the design coming out on the dough at all when rolled or is it disappearing when baking?
What is “mixed spice “?
Mixed spice is a mix of Christmas winter spices, available at supermarkets in the UK. It has ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves too. It’s a great little mix to have. I hope that helps.
I googled this question, as I didn’t know either. It said it was similar to pumpkin pie spice in the states and listed the specific spices. I actually used apple pie spice because it was similar but included cinnamon and didn’t have any unpronounceable ingredients. Turned out great!
The taste was wonderful however the design disappeared as the cookies baked. I am a professional barber so I followed exactly the directions. I will just pipe a design on each or dust with powdered sugar.
This could be from the dough not being chilled enough or the oven temperature is too high. It could also be the rolling pin. If the design isn’t deep enough it’s hard to keep the pattern when cooking. I’m glad they were still delicious x
I would love this recipe in the American measurements if possible. Thank you!
Hi Gail, if you scroll up to the recipe – in the ingredients section there is a US button which has all the ingredients in cups and ounces for you.
Thanks for sharing this recipe. I doubled it and ended up using more water as our altitude is 3891 ft. I didn’t have caster sugar (we call it berry sugar in Canada), nor did I have any of that so I ground down regular white sugar a little finer. Baking time was spot on too. I took them out just when the corners were starting to colour. Mine were about 1/2 a cm thick though and they were still nice to eat. I also added a drop of concentrated peppermint oil. As for the texture – perfect! I print my own rollers. The texture after baking remained just as when I rolled the dough uncooked. There was only a little spreading but negligible and didn’t distort the images. Thank you again for a wonderful recipe.
thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how you got with the recipe. I’m glad you enjoyed it and the idea of adding peppermint oil is something I am going to have to try!
Just tried this with my new embossing pin – they were very tasty and held the design almost perfectly throughout baking! I used chai spice mix instead of the spices called for here, and it worked very well.
Thank you so much for leaving a comment and letting me know how the recipe worked for you. I love the idea of chai spice! I will have to try it someday.
Very nice thanks! I’ve just made a lemon version for valentines day with a cute heart shaped and lovebird imprint. I omitted the spices, replaced vanilla with limoncello and added a very small amount of lemon zest for its wonderful fragrance. They smell great! I had to cook a little longer as my oven doesn’t like two trays in at once, but so far the one i tasted is really good! Taking them to friends tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe and the really clear instructions.
Thank you so much Alison. That is so lovely to hear and thank you for taking the time to write a comment. You’ve made my day.
This is a great recipe! I love the embossed cookie recipe – it’s so pretty!
Thank you so much!
Hi, Never having used an embossed pin, I have what might be a silly question.
You say roll out 1/2″ thickness, then go over with the embossed pin. When you roll with the pin, does the thickness go thinner or should it stay at 1/2″?
It will be a bit thinner once you use the decorated rolling pin but you don’t need to press too hard with it to get the decoration to print out.
Why is there two different sugar amounts?
There is only 1 sugar amount. The sugar is caster in the UK/superfine in the USA.
any salt in these? I am making today.
You can add a little salt if you want to.
This is a great article. I received an embossed rolling pin for Christmas and now I know how to use it. One thing you didn’t mention is how to treat a new pin before using. Any thoughts? I couldn’t get the recipe to transfer to US measurements. So will have to find a way to do that. Again, thanks for all these tips.
Hi Jean, I have updated the recipe to include the American measurements. It should all be there now. So sorry for the delay, I don’t know why they disappeared as they were there a few weeks ago.
Hi! First time user. Two questions: I ordered a Ukrainian embossed rolling pin from Poland and the directions say to brush it with vegetable oil before using. If I do that, do I still have to add flour to it before rolling the cookies? Also, if I want to make a lemon cookie, you mentioned not omitting the vanilla but how much lemon extract would I add to this recipe? Thank you so much!
Oil is really good to feed the wood with but make sure you blot it off before using it on the dough. Some oils will leave a strong taste on the dough.
To make them lemon I would recommend adding lemon zest over lemon extract but a few drops of lemon extract would be great. As you said just keep out the vanilla.